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July 31st, 2012
10:56 PM ET

RidicuList: Real live people (not holograms)

The dream of an airport customer service agent who never stops smiling has become a virtual reality.

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Filed under: The RidicuList
July 31st, 2012
10:52 PM ET

KTH: New report on Fast and Furious errors

A report by House and Senate Republicans outlines who is responsible for mistakes in the Fast and Furious gun program.

July 31st, 2012
10:29 PM ET

Music heals shooting victim's brain

Less than two weeks have passed since 22-year old violist Petra Anderson was shot four times in theater 9, but she is on the road to recovery with the help of her doctors, family and the healing power of music.

CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta explained how music may be helping Petra recover. "If you think about trying to sing a song, for example, there are several different parts of your brain that are immediately harnessed," Gupta said. The tunes are often played by her boyfriend, who is a professional clarinet player. "In someone who is just learning to walk, if you find a song with a particular cadence to it, you can learn how to reestablish your rhythm," said Gupta.

Petra's recovery has been considered a "miracle," because the bullet that went through her brain was just millimeters from striking in a way that could have been more damaging and possibly deadly. "The bullet, if it had gone through a particular blood vessel in there, and there are several that are large, that would have been a catastrophic injury. If it would have been lower within the brain, it could have injured the brain stem," explained Gupta.

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Filed under: Colorado Shooting • Dr. Sanjay Gupta
July 31st, 2012
10:21 PM ET

Chaffetz: DOJ fingerprints on gun program

A scathing GOP report blasts the ATF over its Fast & Furious gun program in Mexico. The Justice Department fires back. Anderson Cooper talked about the uproar with Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, a member of the House Oversight Committee. He says both the ATF and DoJ are responsible.

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Filed under: Fast and Furious
July 31st, 2012
10:18 PM ET

Aurora victim making 'miracle' recovery

Doctors are amazed at the rate Petra Anderson is recovering. She's a victim of the Aurora shooting who survived a shotgun pellet entering her brain.

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Filed under: Colorado Shooting
July 31st, 2012
09:45 PM ET

Signs of abuse in Syria rebels' pow camp

The battle rages on in Syria for control over the country’s largest city, Aleppo. CNN’s Ivan Watson, who is in Syria, calls it a “grinding urban battle.” Despite being outgunned by the Syrian Army, rebels are making significant advances, and claim to have captured a police station on Tuesday. Syrian State TV provided contradictory information and claimed government forces liberated that police station, though they lacked the video evidence provided by opposition groups.

Ivan Watson reports that the Free Syrian Army is receiving boxes of ammunition from across the Turkish border, though it is unclear where the shipments originated. The shipments mainly consisted of light ammunition and RPG rounds. RPGs—or rocket propelled grenades—have been key in the rebels’ fight against al-Assad’s more heavily armed forces.

In the words of one opposition fighter, “They’re giving us just enough to keep this revolution alive, but not enough to give us a decisive victory.”

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Filed under: Syria
July 31st, 2012
09:37 PM ET

Matalin: Romney looks presidential overseas

James Carville and Mary Matalin debate how the Republican candidate's trip abroad will shape his image

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Filed under: 2012 Election • James Carville • Mary Matalin • Mitt Romney
July 31st, 2012
09:33 PM ET

Political campaign staffs vs. the press

CNN's Jim Acosta describes the sometimes tense relationship between candidates' staffs and the press traveling with them.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Mitt Romney
Tonight on AC360:  Shooting survivor hopes for another "miracle"
Courtesy Jacqueline Rocamora Photography
July 31st, 2012
06:20 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: Shooting survivor hopes for another "miracle"

Colorado shooting survivor Petra Anderson is beating the odds. She's already walking and telling jokes after being shot four times in theater 9 of the Aurora multiplex just 11 days ago. Three shotgun pellets hit her arm, and one went through her nose into her brain.

"She's so amazing, she's so determined, " Petra's mother, Kim, told CNN's David Mattingly.

You might remember, in the days following the massacre, there was talk that Petra had an unusual brain malformation that allowed her to survive that shotgun wound to her head. Doctors called it a "miracle." They still do, but there's no more talk of a brain malformation. They say amazingly the bullet hit at just the right angle to avoid causing catastrophic damage. If it had struck just one millimeter to the left or right there would be no talk of a "miracle." Instead, they'd be mourning her death. Thankfully, Petra is a survivor.

Petra, a 22-year-old aspiring composer, hopes to pick up her violin again and even go to graduate school for music this fall. But her ultimate goal is another "miracle" - one for her mother, who's battling cancer. Petra wants her mom to survive alongside her.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Colorado Shooting
July 31st, 2012
05:03 PM ET

Letters to the President #1289: 'A brush with fame'

Reporter's Note: I write to President Obama every day, and I have done so since he took office. That, my friend, is a lot of letters.

Dear Mr. President,

I had one of those awkward moments a short while ago. The actor Will Ferrell, who is pretty darn funny, had just completed an interview on one of our shows and came through the newsroom on his way out. I was simultaneously wandering up to our magic wall to prepare a report and we came face to face. Now, I’ve met plenty of celebrities, and I try to give them space. They have people swarming around them all the time, wanting photos, autographs, handshakes, whatever. It is flattering, but also tiring I am sure. So when I interview or run into one, I try to treat them politely like just another person; which, to be honest, is really what they are no matter how we lionize them.

Anyway, Ferrell seems to have sort of the same approach, because this was the entirety of our meeting.

Will: “Hi.”
Tom: “Hi.”
(both shake hands)
Tom: “Nice interview.”
Will: “Oh, thank you.”
Tom: “We’re just getting ready to do a report with the Magic Wall.”
Will: (pointing to wall) “Oh, right there. Cool.”
Tom: “Good luck with your movie.”
Will: “Thanks.”

In a strange way, I think we were both trying so hard to be polite that we ended up being awkward. I had a very similar thing happen, no kidding, with Angelina Jolie once. The result of all this is that I have precious little evidence of all the stars I’ve encountered. In fact, I worked with Peter Jennings for ten years, having at least weekly dealings with him on the phone and occasionally in person (I was based in Denver, while he was in New York) and yet I don’t have a single photograph of us together. For crying out loud, he called me at home to tease me when my favorite hockey team (The Avalanche) lost, and once he even called my wife to wish her a happy anniversary because I’d been sent on assignment for World News Tonight. All that…and not one picture.

Still, I prefer it that way. For all the occasional odd moments, like the one with Ferrell this afternoon, I like to think I’ve allowed dozens of other celebs to go on their way feeling slightly less pressed by the trappings of success.

Just thought you might find the story interesting. I hope all is well with you. Call if you can.

Regards,
Tom